Insight: Issue 34 (3rd March)
When you realise it’s been almost a year since we went into lockdown *the first time*. . .
Moving swiftly on…In today’s news: the EIA has secured urgent government action to release £1.6bn in unpaid business support grants; EVCOM & HBAA have announced a month-long celebration of International Women’s Day (because why not?); Emirates is now letting economy passengers purchase entire rows of seats; we’ve got how-to guides for attracting a crowd to your virtual event, and writing an engaging event script to keep ‘em hooked; and a heads-up on the top 5 workplace trends to expect in 2021.
EIA secures govt action on £1.6bn unpaid grants
You may recall from 2 weeks ago that a freedom of information request made to all local authorities in England revealed £1bn+ crucial emergency funding was being withheld from businesses closed by COVID-19 restrictions.
Well, the good news is…a lobbying campaign by the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) has secured urgent government action to make councils release almost £1.6bn in unpaid support grants. The EIA has since written to the Chancellor, Business Secretary, and head of the Association of Local Government urging them to ensure the blocked payments are released ASAP to eligible businesses across the events and hospitality sectors. Andrew Harrison, Director at the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA)—which is a constituent of the EIA—commented:
“We welcome the Government’s decision to urgently investigate the non-payment of £1.6bn in Additional Restrictions Grants to eligible businesses by local councils, however this action could have been taken two weeks ago when the EIA first raised this issue following our freedom of information request.”
EVCOM & HBAA: International Women’s Month
In happier news, EVCOM and HBAA have come together this year to deliver a programme of events that transforms International Women’s Day into International Women’s Month. They’ll be celebrating and spotlighting women in the events industry throughout March; sharing thought leadership pieces from industry experts, and hosting panel discussions and interviews with key players and next generation talent.
Spaces are free! Check out the virtual event programme and sign up here.
How to attract a crowd to your virtual event
These days, everybody and their uncle is hosting a virtual event—so there’s a lot more competition now than this time last year. If you’re wondering how to stand out and draw a crowd, wonder no more! Kongres Magazine has shared some top tips for converting casual browsers into confirmed attendees:
- Simplify event registration. Make it quick, simple, and user-friendly. KISS is an acronym for a reason, people.
- Website first. Your website should be the centrepiece of your marketing efforts. Don’t underestimate SEO optimisation, and *always* offer interesting, value-added content.
- Tell a story. Stories fuel digital marketing, so your event better tell a great one! Look at your speakers’ profiles, relevant trends, and market changes for inspiration.
. . .then write an engaging virtual script
Now that you have a full guest list and a compelling event narrative in mind, you need a script. Luckily, Kongres has covered that too—with their guide to writing engaging scripts for virtual events. A few tips to get you started:
- Dramatic event structure. If in doubt, go for the classic 3-act structure: exposition, complication, resolution. Works…*dramatic pause*…every time.
- 1 page = 5 mins. Attention spans are notoriously short online, so watch your timing. As a general rule, a 1-page script amounts to approx. 5 mins of talking.
- Make a storyboard. You know what they say: a picture paints a thousand words. So if your budget allows, create a storyboard for wowing your event stakeholders.
Emirates lets passengers buy adjacent seats
Hopefully before too long we’ll be able to fly to far-flung destinations to attend an event in person (*wistful sigh*). And when that time comes, we’ll probably all be a bit nervous about getting on a plane.
Emirates knows this all too well, so they’ve just launched a new option for economy passengers to purchase up to 3 empty adjoining seats on their flight. These seats can’t be pre-booked—but, subject to availability, they’ll be offered for purchase at airport check-in.
So, there you have it…post-COVID, you can pay for the privilege of staying away from people.
Oh, and in other breaking travel news, you’ll all be relieved to hear that Virgin Atlantic has now reintroduced hand-plated meals in Upper Class. Thank god for that.
The top 5 workplace trends of 2021
Speaking of the not-too-distant future, AV Magazine has given us a heads-up on 5 workplace trends (remote or otherwise) to expect in 2021:
- A focus on collaboration. As we start to figure out a combination of remote and in-person working, we’ll likely see the adoption of more online tools that facilitate greater collaboration between employees—wherever they are in the world.
- Supporting health & wellbeing. Now more than ever, if employers hope to attract strong candidates, retain top talent, and prevent burnout, they have to prioritise the wellbeing of all employees.
- Offering flexibility. Research shows that lots of people prefer a flexible working arrangement; with some days working in the office, and some days working from home.
- Boosting employee engagement & advocacy. This could be as simple as setting up regular check-ins with different departments; or arranging informal virtual meet-ups, team-building exercises, and networking events.
- Sustainability & smart offices. Businesses *need* to embrace more sustainable practices in 2021. No excuses. Enough’s enough.
Until next week, event profs!